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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by S. from Germany

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

1

Lodges stayed in

4

Excursions taken

2

Simbabwe VicFalls/Huangwe/ManaPools 11-2019

Zimbabwe between 10 Nov 2019 and 21 Nov 2019

Trip rating: Excellent
"Great safari experience throughout Zimbabwe in a luxurious Setting in diverse places. Great lodges and especially in view of current economic struggles of the Country a very professional infrastructure for national park tourism. While nature was suffering from the 2019 drought, nevertheless unique game viewing experiences.
Information on the Website of ExpertAfrica was very detailed and accurate, we planned our trip with Tom who was very helpful and knowledgable, we ended up with a trip that was everything (and more) we expected, highly recommended."

Arranged By Tom Morris


Victoria Falls Hotel

Victoria Falls Hotel

"Victoria Falls Hotel [Simbabwe 11-2019]"

2 nights Arrived 11 Nov 2019
"Travel intention: 9th trip to africa, looking for unique safari experience throughout Africa in a comfortable to luxurious setting.

Facilities: This hotel is a special place and every detail breathes history. While other places try to get themselves an artificial "vintage"-like Feeling, this Hotel is proud of its authenic history. It was originally built as a stop-over place on the Cape-to-Cairo railway and later upgraded to a luxury accomodation. Many details (carpets, curtains, windows, lamps…) enrich the overall experience of emerging into a forgotten area, where you might meet some members of the old british nobility around each corner.

Service: Overall excellent Service at breakfast/Dining area. Part of our luggage arrived one day later and the staff took excellent care of it communicating with the airport and delivering the luggage to use.

Experience: The Hotel itself has a nice garden area to take a short walk around, get a distant view on the mist from Victoria falls or relax at the pool area. High tea as well as dinner in the Livingston room is highly recommended. Great breakfast buffet, one of the best I experienced on my travels throughout africa. You can directly take the short walk to the Falls from the Hotel or you will be picked up for booked activities.

Overall: Due to excellent connections of Vic Falls airport, a visit to Victoria Falls is a great part of trips in the area. Victoria Falls hotel is highly recommended for those travellers looking for a unique, history-rich luxury experience."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Helicopter Flight - Zimbabwe

Helicopter Flight - Zimbabwe

"Helicopter Flight [11-2019]"

12 Nov 2019 • Afternoon excursion

Travel intention: 9th trip to africa, looking for unique safari experience throughout Africa in a comfortable to luxurious Setting.

I recommend to first take a walk at the Victoria Falls and do the Helicopter Flight thereafter. Thereby you will already have a detailed Knowledge about the area and be able to get more out the air-view experience. Overall great experience which you will remember Long afterwards, it is worth it.
Overall well organized, we were picked up and brought back to our hotel. Some annoying details have already been described (i) they try to sell you an overprized movie afterwards, which you don't have to (ii) and there is no Talk/Explanation during the flight itself, but These do not interfere with the Overall experience.
Excellent
Ra-Ikane River Cruise

Ra-Ikane River Cruise

"Ra-Ikane River Cruise review [11-2019]"

12 Nov 2019 • All-day excursion

Travel intention: 9th trip to africa, looking for unique safari experience throughout Africa in a comfortable to luxurious Setting

Boat Facilities: There are a number of operators offering boats tours around the Sambesi river. While being a bit more expensive than others, the provided services is excellent and contributes to a great experience. We saw other rather crowded tour boats as well and were extremely glad with our choice. For Ra-Ikane, Guest numbers are restricted (we were 3 + 4 other guests, maximum number would have been ~10) and you are seated in comfortable chairs in 3-4 small groups, rather like in a small dining area. This gives rise to a feeling of privacy and ensures that you will be able to observe and photograph everything around from the best angle. Snacks (first small tray, then a larger one) were offered, as well as imported wine, beer or cocktails (all included in the price).

Tour specifics: Boat tours are generally relaxing and there is always something to observe and enjoy, we took the sunset cruise before dinner. A number of expected water birds were seen(e.g. herons, giant kingfishers), as well as some short visits at the water shore (buffalo, waterbuck). A highlight was a large herd of elephants that arrived and swam across the river from Zimbabwe to Zambia which we could appreciate in length.
Excellent
Somalisa Camp

Somalisa Camp

"Somalisa Camp [11-2019]"

3 nights Arrived 13 Nov 2019
"Travel intention: 9th trip to africa, looking for unique safari experience throughout Africa in a comfortable to luxurious Setting

Facilities: Located in an isolated area of the Huangwe park, you can fully emerge into the bush feeling you are looking for (no cell phone connection or WIFI). You have a nice overview on the surrounding plains both from your tent and the central area. The central area has a small pool and a nicely arranged shaded area overviewing the water hole where you can relax during lunch break. Very nice rooms with comfortable bed and both an indoor and outdoor shower, as well a stylish copper bath tub.

Service: Excellent food and drinks, attentive service. After being ripped open by baboons while we were away (fortunately, they just made a bit of a mess and obviously slept on the bed, but didn’t steal anything), the fly-net surrounding our tent was repaired immediately. We visited three camps from African Bush Camps during our trip. What sets these camps apart from other sites we have visited before: The common rule is that dinners are taken at a large table together with camp manager + one staff member. Thereby, you interact both more with other guests, as well as get to talk with local Zimbabwe guys enabling lots of interesting conversation.

Experience: Excellent location within Hwange park giving a representative feeling of its nature and animals. You will meet only few other vehicles during your game drive (due to Somalisa Camp having its own concession area and a limited numbers of visitors in the vast area of Huangwe). Huangwe is basically the most eastern part of the Kalahari desert therefore being unaible to sustain large numbers of permanent game. This was overcome early by drilling (now half solar/half diesel generator driven) artificial waterholes which provide the necessary waterholes to sustain abundant wild life. Unfortunately, the impact of the 2019 drought in combination with an overpopulation of elephants in the park were clearly visible as we saw a number of very thin and regularly also dead elephants, as well as many destroyed trees/bushes where even the roots were digged out. Our guide was Bee. Special sightings: Elephants (of course), Lion pack (descendants of Cecil) with several cubs playing around and one time gathering to go hunting in the evening (unfortunately it got dark and we had to stop following). Cheetah mother + son seen twice. Abundant roan antilope (rarely seen on other trips so far). Spring hares, african wild cat and nightjars during night drives. Numerous smaller and also larger birds (secretary bird, grounded and other hornbills, Kori bustard…)

Overall: Luxury bush-feeling camp with a limited number of the opportunity for great game drive experiences. Excellent camp management by Roland (always joyful and observant camp manager)."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Zambezi Expeditions

Zambezi Expeditions

"Zambezi Expeditions [11-2019]"

2 nights Arrived 16 Nov 2019
"Travel intention: 9th trip to africa, looking for unique safari experience throughout Africa in a comfortable to luxurious Setting

Facilities: Located directly at the the Zambesi river, the landscape is breathtaking overlooking the river and the Sambian mountain side of the steep northern Zambezi Escarpment (the southern Escarpment on the Zimbabwe side is much gentler with a rather large area where wildlife has more space to roam). The camp provides a „glamping“ feeling – while everything is located within tents that will be removed at the end of the season, nothing is lacking including readily filled bucket showers and flush toilets. This allows the camp to really melt into the surrounding nature. For us, it started immediately as we had to wait for a crossing elephant group before we could get from the main to our tent. While relaxing in main area or in front of tent, there is always something going on (from catching a foto of a pygmy kingfisher in the branches in front of our tent to grazing/drinking animals).

Service: The camp host was Michelle, who was attentive and helpful (enabled us to use emergency WIFI for a family problem at home) and provided during family style dining interesting discussions about the changing face of the Zimbabwian society in modern times. Pre-dinner drinks and partly food were taken at a bush fire, good food.

Experience: Due to the 2019 drought, all of the pools were dried up, however, due to Zambesi river animal were still doing better than compared to Hwange (fewer dead elephants). A great place for game drives as the open areas beside the river can be overviewed nicely with a clear long-range view. Specific sightings: Unique elefant behaviour (standing up or climbing tree stems with forefeet to reach lower branches), close and extensive Eland sightings (rare elsewhere), Nile waran sitting in tree hole, excellent birding (Lilian lovebirds, African hoopoe, woodland kingfisher, as well as river birds such as fish eagle or different storks/herons). TK was one of the buest guides we ever had due to his entertaining, knowledegable and talkative nature.

Overall: Mana pools is one of the best places for safaris in Africa combining an excellent touristic infrastruture (while avoiding overtourism) with abundant wildlife and an eye-catching landscape. A bit more basic camp for those who want to go „glamping“ but will lack no comfort completely surrounded by nature. Camp is in a great location within Mana Pools park. Ask for TK, he is one of the best guides we ever had."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Nyamatusi Camp

Nyamatusi Camp

"Nyamatusi Camp [11-2019]"

2 nights Arrived 18 Nov 2019
"Travel intention: 9th trip to africa, looking for unique safari experience throughout Africa in a comfortable to luxurious Setting

Facilities: Completely new and extremely luxurious. The rooms are superb with every convenience available, some of these conveniences are very welcome (small personal plunge pool at every tent, very spacious, fridge with cold water or other beverages). Some others might lead to a hot debate among safari goes whether this is overdone and really necessary for a bush camp (wine cellar, small air condition not for the whole room but only over bed at night time). Great and thoughtful decoration, very stylish. As tents are placed in a vast area with quite distance from each other, you are supposed to not walk around but call the guide by radio to pick you up by car when going to another tent or the main area. This is a bit complicated but understable as the chance of actually meeting both lions and leopards within the vast camp area is quite high (we saw lions just outside the camp and a leopard within the camp at night).

Service: Due to our personal experiences, I am sorry to delibaretely rate this category with „poor“. First of all, the service of the general staff was friendly, but fell short of the attention of detail shown in comparable camps. Just to name examples, waiters forgot orders, did not know what was served during dinner when asked or the desert served was different from the one on the menu card. These are just examples demonstrating that the workflows behind the scenes were not handled as smoothly as we had experienced in two other camps of African Bush camps immediately before. As the camp was opened 6 months earlier, we are optimistic that with a bit of time and experience of the staff, things will go more smoothly and this was overall no severe problem.
A serious drawback, however, was the camp manager (Russell). Specifically, our journey fell in the time of a South African Airways (SAA) strike with a number of cancelled SA flights and we and other guests were uncertain about the flight status of our flights back (Harare to Johannesburg with SAA, from there on connection flight with other companies). Due to a lack of cell phone connection or WIFI at the camp, guests were unable to access information themselves. Despite our repeated request, Russell did not contact SAA to check for our flight status and we were put off with vague or untrue statements (“everything will be fine” or “just go to the airport and find out”). Our explicit request to contact Expert Africa to seek for help/information was also bluntly ignored. In the end, we ended up in the main office with an unstable internet connection ourselves booking additional new Harare to Johannesburg flights with another flight company just in case. In the end, when arriving in Harare, this was the right decision, as our SA flight was indeed cancelled and we could take our alternative connection, therefore reaching our connection flight in Johannesburg. Another couple travelling in parallel, trusting Russells statements, did not book alternative flights and got stranded in Harare missing their connection flight in Joburg. Overall, I would like to share the feeling that the whole situation was managed poorly and not in a professional manner.

Experience: We combined Zambezi Expeditions and Nyamatusi during our trip in Mana Pools, which proofed an excellent decision. Nyamatusi is the very eastern last camp having been built in the camp and both landscape and animals did not feel redundant but very different, so that our game drive experiences in Zambezi Expeditions and Nyamatusi were quite distinct. Nyamatusi is translated as „lions land“ which is completely due as this is an area oft he park with a high big cat concentration (which we experienced as well). Furthermore, the landscape changes from the very open plain views observed in the more western camps to lots of reed bets with high grasses and shrubs. Specific sightings: Hyaneas at a fresh dead elephant, repeated leopard sightings, python, as well as excellent birding (including rare gems on my bucket list such as crested guineafowl and double-banded sandgrouse). Most noteably, one morning after breakfast, instead of starting our usual game drive, we started walking and approached a lion pack with a fresh buffalo kill still eating just a few hundred meters from our camp.

Overall: A very luxurious (for some looking for classical bush feeling: too luxurious) camp, located in a great corner of Mana Pools with high chances for big cat experiences. Service did not live up to its full potential, but will hopefully improve over time (possibly under a different camp management)"
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Poor
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

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